Astrophysics, News, Observations

Surprising Link Found Between Dark Matter and Black Holes

The teacup galaxy. Red/yellow shows the radio emission "bubbles", blue shows the gas and the bright yellow in the centre shows where the jets are driving into the gas. Image via CNET.

Dark matter and black holes are some of the most mysterious things in the Universe, so a connection between the two is absolutely thrilling. In a new study, astronomers report a strange link between the amount of dark matter in a galaxy and the size of its supermassive black hole. Most galaxies have a black hole at their centers –

Astrophysics, News, Observations

70,000 Years Ago, a Rogue Star Passed Through Our Solar System

star flyby oort cloud

Too close for comfort – a team of astronomers from the US, Europe, Chile and South Africa concluded that a dim star passed through the Oort cloud, our solar system’s distant cloud of comets. The star missed the Earth by less than one light year, and passed five times closer than the current closest star, Proxima Centauri. In a paper published

Astronomy, Astrophysics, News

Strange, Unexplainable Clouds Hover over Mars

Dust storms on the Martian surface usually produce low-altitude plumes. Image via JPL/NASA.

Mysterious cloud-like formations hovering over Mars challenge our understanding of the Red Planet’s climate. Interestingly, amateur astronomers spotted the bizarre feature rising off the edge of the red planet in March and April of 2012 and since then, no satisfying answer regarding to their formation has been put forth. Now, scientists have concocted a new theory, but there’s only one problem – it poses more questions than it answers.

Astrophysics, Space

NASA Spacecraft Takes a Closer Look at Dwarf Planet Ceres

PHOTO: This processed image, taken on Jan. 13, 2015, shows the dwarf planet Ceres as seen from the Dawn spacecraft.

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is getting closer to Ceres – the largest object from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The space agency released some new pictures of the dwarf planet, and while these aren’t the best pictures of Ceres yet, as the shuttle moves closer and closer, the pictures will get better and better.

Astronomy, Astrophysics, News

Scientists Observe Giant Burst of Radio Waves

blitzar

Scientists have observed a massive burst of radio waves, helping them narrow down the potential sources of these huge bursts of energy. These events, also called blitzars, last about a millisecond but give off as much energy as the sun does in a million years. These are quite possibly the most interesting and shocking sources of energy in the Universe. It’s

Astronomy, Astrophysics, News

New Study Suddenly Makes Billions of Exoplanets Habitable

Above: How heat is distributed on a spinning planet versus a rotationally locked one. Image via Popular Mechanics.

Astronomers hunting for habitable Earth-like planets now believe that the best place to look is not around stars like our Sun, but rather around smaller, cooler stars—orange and red dwarfs. These are by far the most abundant stars in our galaxy, and all of them have at least one exoplanet.

Astrophysics, News, Space

Meteorites Not Responsible For Building Solar System, Study Finds

An artist's rendering of a protoplanetary impact. Early in the impact, molten jetted material is ejected at a high velocity and breaks up to form chondrules, the millimeter-scale, formerly molten droplets found in most meteorites. These droplets cool and solidify over hours to days.
Credit: NASA/California Institute of Technology

For decades, astronomers have believed that meteorites are the building blocks of our solar system – the lego blocks for planets. But a new study from scientists at MIT and Purdue University suggests that this may not be the case after all – and we’ve given meteorites too much credit.

Astrophysics, News, Space, Space flight

China Reaches Moon Orbit, Wants to Mine Very Rare, Energy Dense Element

24A596A300000578-2907136-image-a-3_1421092383352

China’s has reached a new milestone in its space program – its latest spacecraft service module has entered orbit around the moon, after being successfully tested on Earth a few months ago. Chinese media reports that the service module of a test lunar orbiter has successfully began orbiting the Moon. The goal of this mission is to land on the Moon, retrieve